Over the past few months, we've seen plenty of developers move to make social games on Facebook deeper experiences. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with spending hours tending to crops or chopping down trees (in fact, I'm guilty of both), but for those times when you just want to see something die in a pool of blood and gore, you'll now have another option for where to spend your time.
As we told you last week, Supercell has launched Gunshine.net on Facebook, with this MMO of sorts allowing you to interact with other real-world players in real time, offering truly social play via large boss fights or just chatting with other players in your area. As for the single-player experience, you'll be able to complete quests in your own game all surrounding your fight against the corrupt Labycore Corporation in Dawnbreak City.
Labycore advertizes a better life for all on its isolated island, and turns away any sort of national assistance or contact. They do, however, welcome immigrants to Dawnbreak City, so long as those citizens are "people who believe in a brighter future." By studying science and technology, Labycore supposedly offers a better life for everyone it touches, but of course, such supposed paradises rarely are.
After customizing your character's gender and class (Bodyguard - melee, Hunter - ranged, or Doctor - healer), you'll be immediately (and involuntarily) swept into Labycore's security team. You're trained in your weapon or class of choice, but in order to remain in the corporation's security detail you'll be forced to undergo a lobotomy and brain-washing, so that you can never fight back against its control. Of course, you're not going to simply allow your brain to be altered, so you join the renegades in an escape from the medical facility / prison, and can then begin to interact with other players that have reached at least that point in their own solo storylines.
The game is mostly quest-based, giving you a helpful green arrow on the map telling you which direction to travel, and you'll talk to various NPCs that ask you to craft items, travel to different areas in the world and generally cause mayhem for the corporation. As you walk around the game's many, fairly detailed maps, you'll come across enemies that can be slaughtered with the click of a button. You can access healing items, other weapons and accessories via the Quick Bar, and can use keyboard shortcuts to access your inventory, the map screen, etc. Essentially, the game has been setup for those familiar with other MMO setups and shortcuts, but also works well to introduce new players with a lengthy tutorial and tool-tips.
You can increase your character's attack or defenses by crafting new items using the seemingly random items you'll collect along the way. Bolts can be turned into wrenches or guns, for instance (depending on whether you want close or ranged combat), while you can use fabric scraps to craft new clothing items or armor.
While playing, you'll be allowed to have more than one quest active at once, which is helpful if they all take place within a certain region, or you can take a break from your own storyline progression to interact with friends. While the chat window is constantly available, regardless of your location in the world (so long as you're not in full screen mode), you can also enter into lairs or pits to fight bosses. This is done most simply by clicking on the helpful Boss Finger feature at the top of the gameplay area, as you'll be able to see the different bosses, the level of the fight and automatically join a group that's ready to tackle it. With my time in the game, I found myself constantly surrounded by other players, so I doubt you'll have any real trouble finding willing partners. Even better, you can add in-game friends via friend requests and then play with them when you're both online at the same time.
Gallery: Gunshine.net on Facebook
Where the game does have a bit of trouble are in the full screen graphics (they're blurry on a widescreen, hi-def monitor) and in the boss difficulties themselves. Even with four players, on the easiest boss in the game (pictured above), each of our four players died at least twice in trying to take it down. Still, it's easy to craft new items to make your character stronger, especially if you kill Labycore guards for more materials, as you'll simply need to click a button and then wait for the item to craft.
Overall, with the lack of a traditional energy system and the ability to add new friends or interact with even complete strangers on the fly, there's a potential for some lengthy gameplay sessions here. The quests start out slow, and while many are fetch quests, they work well to acclimate you to the world. If you're in the mood to join the resistance, and perhaps even make some new friends at the same time, why not give Gunshine.net on Facebook a shot?
Play Gunshine.net on Facebook? --->
Have you tried Gunshine.net on Facebook? What did you think of the game so far? What do you think of the new, hardcore social games that have launched on Facebook recently? Sound off in the comments.